Skills of Communication

Thursday, September 17, 2020 (All day)
Event Location 


Intended Audience 
Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at VCHRI

*This session is being offered in collaboration with MITACS Training. Mitacs Training provides professional development training to advanced degree graduates, supplementing their education and research experience with the tools necessary to succeed in today’s workforce.

Skills of Communication is a full-day session featuring the tools and tips of better verbal communication. It will test your assumptions and mental models and for many it may be the first time you learn about the Ladder of Inference, the Johari Window and more.  The goal is to make you more aware of the tools available to help you become a better communicator in both your work and personal lives. The mastery of these skills is a long-term process, but by simply becoming more conscious of the various communication styles, including your own, you can approach conversations differently and change conversational direction to achieve better outcomes.


To increase participant awareness and application of tools available to them to become better communicators in work and life.


Through participating and completing this workshop, participants will: 

  • Understand how personal assumptions and mental models adversely influence communication
  • Learn how to determine your own personal assumptions and how to avoid them
  • Learn to navigate and approach difficult conversations
  • Identify and implement communications tools and techniques for team success


The purpose of communication

  • Communication not as simple as it appears
  • When bad communication happens to good communicators
  • Identifying challenging conversations
  • How mental models & personal assumptions influence communication
    • Mental models and The Ladder of Inference
    • 3 Steps: Reflection, Advocacy, Inquiry
    • Culture and communication
    • Gender and communication
    • Unspoken words
    • Johari Window Model

Power of Rapport

  • Non-verbal communication
  • Closed-ended, open-ended and probing questions
  • Listening challenges
  • R.E.A.L Communication Model: Research, Engage, Ask Questions, Listen
    • Tips on handling difficult conversations
    • Communicating like an expert: How to use different communication styles based on different audiences


  • Gayle Hallgren-Rezac - is entrepreneur and a recipient of the YWCA Woman of Distinction award. Gayle is a graduate of the University of British Columbia and has spent over two decades observing and writing on networking around the world.
  • Judy Thomson - is a chartered professional accountant who has held executive positions in human resources and administration with global companies in Canada and Asia.

Gayle and Judy have given hundreds of presentations to corporations, associations, governments, and have worked extensively with university students from undergrads to MBAs and PhDs. They are co-authors of Work the Pond! Use the Power of Positive Networking to Leap Forward in Work and Life.


Register here. ***This event is currently full. To be added to the waitlist please email 

**Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from UBC are eligible to participate. Priority will be given to VCHRI graduate students registered in the current academic session. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email. Additional details will be confirmed via email the week prior to the event.

No-shows are costly for our program and, most importantly, leave students on the waiting list. Please cancel at least 2 business days in advance by e-mailing to allow us to fill your spot from the waiting list.